Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Day 39: A half day to Abancay (319 kms)

The plan was to ride the 500kms plus to Ollantaytambo, take the train to Aguas Calientes and see Machu Picchu tomorrow. Things went awry. Notably with my bike.

The ride started perfectly. We rose again to the Pampas and made great time: 250 kms by the time we stopped for breakfast. I snapped a shot of our three machines in a line; all the colors of the citrus rainbow.

Upon leaving the restaurant, my bike started to behave badly. The throttle would die at high revs. And then it got worse. It started to stall every 200 meters. Several theories were postulated. The simple: water in the gas or bad gas. The complicated: fuel injector issues. I limped along and finally made it to the town of Abancay. We tried fuel stabilizer. I re-checked the air filter. We dumped the gas and started over. Same symptoms.

At this point the day was quickly dwindling. We finally ended up at mechanic called Marcos. Just as I pulled in my battery died. The cause was from repeatedly starting the engine after the stalls. We tried to explain the root problem and symptoms, but Marcos was focused solely on the battery. That was a little frustrating, because it seemed like a distraction. But once he got the battery out, it had no acid. Then he confirmed that the battery couldn't hold a charge. In the event, the battery was itself the source of the problem. Basically since it could not take the charge, the main computer was put under severe stress trying to manage the electrical system. Its instinct was simply to shut down.

The delay was frustrating and a setback. Particularly during those hours when we couldn't diagnose the problem, uncertainty about the trip crept in. Through the period the guys were great: very patient and helpful.

We rearranged our schedule to compress the trip from the Sacred Valley to Bolivia. No big deal.

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